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I recommend teaching 15 minute private lessons (in a very specific way shown below) and I think they can often provide more value than full hour lessons, if they are done well.

Plus, by learning to hone your skills and provide great value in a 15 minute lesson, you can also drastically improve the value you provide in your 1-2 hour private lessons.

If you are not sure you can deliver enough value in 15 minutes, offer to do a few of these for free until you get really good at them.

This is how I run them, the Important Tips I find help make them effective, and the reasons why I find them extremely valuable for me and my students:

First 2-5 minutes – Assess their dancing, ideally having a 3rd person writing down the topics I notice could use improvement as they dance. Important Tips: Have several different styles of songs ready and switch them if you notice they seem to be doing great with one style and don’t have any improvements to offer. Make sure to find at least 3 topics to improve on and stop as soon as you have 5 topics or 5 minutes is up, whichever happens first.

Second 3-5 minutes – Go over all the topics that were written down and let them decide what they want to focus on. Important Tips: Give them recommendations of what is probably most important and least important. Make sure not to get into the details of these topics. Your goal is just to give enough information for them to choose what they want to work on. Limit each topic explanation to less than 1 minute.

Last 5-10 minutes – Give them something very specific to practice (homework) that will help them improve the topic they chose to focus on. Important Tips: Don’t waste time telling them what to do…immediately make them do it with you and explain while they are doing it (if an explanation is needed). Then make them do it on their own and make sure they can repeat it without you. You can let them videotape the entire 15 minute lesson if you are worried about them not being able to repeat it on their own.

This does a bunch of great stuff for both me and my students…

1. It forces me to hone my teaching skills and get straight to the point.
2. It gives my student ONE topic to focus on until our next lesson which means they are more likely to actually improve in that topic rather than get overwhelmed by everything they could improve.
3. It encourages my student to do homework, which I feel is extremely powerful for improving your dancing.
4. By offering 3-5 topics and only covering 1 topic, this shows my student a bunch of other topics that are important to improve, that we don’t cover. That way they have proof that another lesson will be valuable and they still have plenty more to learn.
5. You can offer to do one or two of these immediately after your group dance class to pick up some extra income while helping a student or two improve on something they learned in class. Plus, the other students who don’t take private lessons yet might be more encouraged to start since they can see someone doing it (as they are packing up to leave) and they will see the improvements it has for the student as they continue to take the regular group lesson and that student continues to improve more and more than everyone else.
6. These are also easy to do on the spot, in case you have a client that wants a private lesson and you are both there and ready to go right now and don’t want to spend the time trying to work out your schedules.

Has anyone else tried 15 minute (or less) lessons? If so, any other suggestions on how to make them as effective as possible?


About the author 

Andrew Sutton

Andrew Sutton is a World Champion Lindy Hop Instructor, and one of the original founders of the Fusion partner dance movement. He uses his extensive research in over 244 cities across 38 countries (& 44 dance forms) to help dance instructors be more successful financially during their pursuit to help their students Make Every Dance Amazing! Impossible? Maybe...but if you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you'll land amongst the stars!

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